Let me guess: you’re reading this page because you’re a shy person. And you have some questions like…
- Is shyness a bad thing?
- Do people think there’s something wrong about being shy? Or is it perfectly normal?
- Should you accept that shyness is the way you are and try to live with it? Or should you try to change it if possible?
I’ll answer these questions in this article, but first I’ll start by saying:
As someone who was extremely shy for most of my life, I think it comes down to this:
Shyness is not bad, but it’s not helpful either.
There’a a song called “Ask” by “The Smiths” that goes like this:
Shyness is nice and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to
Some people have a mild shyness that doesn’t really change their life. My shyness was not like that. My shyness was painful. My shyness stopped me from having the life I wanted.
- I didn’t have friends. I was dying inside from a lack of connection.
- I couldn’t speak up in class, stand up to my parents when they were being unfair or go to a job interview without my armpits being drenched in sweat.
- And I had absolutely no hope of turning my crush (who I always thought about) into my girlfriend.
From a young age I knew that shyness was not a benefit because it blocked me from so many things in life that I wanted. It made me lonely. It lowered my self esteem. It made me feel left out. It made me feel like a loser.
So the reason to overcome shyness is not because it is BAD, but because it is ADVANTAGEOUS to you.
Let me be clear:
You Don’t HAVE To Overcome Shyness
You do not HAVE to overcome shyness if you don’t want to. Being shy does not make you an inferior person. In fact, you don’t HAVE to do anything in life you don’t want to. It’s completely your choice whether you think it’s an issue you need to overcome or not.
I think that’s one reason people say “there’s nothing wrong with being shy.” They don’t want to be forced into doing something because of some moral obligation.
So does this mean that you should just accept being shy?
If you want to, then yes. BUT!… The answer isn’t really that simple for most people.
Many Shy People Are Unsatisfied
In my experience, many shy people are UNSATISFIED with their social life and amount of confidence. They actually HATE being lonely and isolated and having very few friends. They HATE being scared out of their mind when they have to speak in front of many people. And they HATE that they can’t talk to that girl or guy they like.
Back when I was very shy myself, I noticed that it was always NON-SHY people who said things like: “there’s nothing wrong with being shy” or “shyness is cute.”
I remember thinking… Yeah, my shyness is cute to you but for me it’s like playing the game of life on hard mode. Simple everyday things that non-shy people do all the time felt IMPOSSIBLE to me. Like going to a party and actually talking to people. Giving a short presentation at school. Or asking out a girl I liked.
The question to ask yourself is:
Does your shyness hold you back from things in life that you want?
I think that, for you, the answer is straightforward. Just look at yourself. Would you be reading this article if you really liked to be shy? Probably not.
And think of it this way: there is lots of advice out there trying to help people become more confident, charismatic or outgoing. But nobody is trying to become more quiet, socially awkward and lonely. Why? Because there’s no benefit to it.
In short: Don’t try to overcome shyness because you see it as a defect you HAVE to get rid of to make other people like you. Instead, do it because you WANT to do it, to improve your own quality of life.
But What About Self-Acceptance?
One thing you may be thinking now is: “but isn’t it important to accept yourself despite your faults?”
And yes, I think self acceptance is very important for happiness and self esteem. Acceptance means that you feel no shame for any part of yourself. Becoming completely unashamed of who you are is an important step in overcoming many issues shy people face, such as inferiority:
- You aren’t ashamed if you have little friends or social life right now, and you don’t try to “hide” it from people thinking they’ll brush you off if they “found out.”
- You aren’t ashamed about any part of your physical appearance. Instead of constantly looking in mirrors to “check” your appearance, you accept the way you look.
A quick warning: there’s a difference between self acceptance and simply being lazy and hopeless.
I’m a big promoter of unconditional self acceptance. But I don’t think it’s good if someone uses “self acceptance” as an excuse to not face their fears in life. Because that will lead to long-term misery. (I avoided my fears for many years, so believe me I know.)
The thing I’m against is when someone gives up going after something they want and then uses “self acceptance” as an excuse for their lack of courage.
If you are ready to stop making excuses and find out the REAL strategies that work at overcoming shyness fast, then read more of my articles on this website: